Ways to Save on Dining Out
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Ways to Save on Dining Out

Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 at 1:48 pm
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Dining out can end up costing you a fortune. After you’ve enjoyed an appetizer, selected an entrée, enjoyed that glass of wine, and indulged in a piece of chocolate cake, you’ll find your final total added up quickly. Luckily, there are ways you can still enjoy eating at your favorite restaurant while saving a few bucks. Here are some ideas:

Dine Early and During the Week

For most restaurants, prime money-making hours are during dinner time. This is when menu prices tend to spike and special deals disappear. Instead, try dining out a bit early. Many restaurants offer an early bird special which offers many meals for less. Eating during the lunch hour is another great way to save. You can enjoy great meals for much less.

Many restaurants offer daily deals Monday-Friday. Eat out on those days and hit up the specials. For example, many Mexican restaurants offer Taco Tuesdays, which feature delicious tacos for just $1.00! Happy hour deals are another great way to save on both food and cocktails.

Use Coupons and Get Social!

You can find many great coupons for popular restaurant chains nationwide. If you’re looking to dine at your favorite locally owned establishment, check out Facebook, Yelp or Twitter. With the boom in social networking, many businesses are getting the word out about special deals and coupons online.

Restaurant.com is another great resource for finding hot discounts on local restaurants. Simply search for restaurants in your zip code to find fantastic deals. Restaurant.com offers gift certificate deals. For example, you can spend just $10.00 for a $25 gift certificate.

Save on Alcohol

Most restaurants offer a large array of specialty cocktails, wines and beers. Unfortunately, these are usually marked way up. If you know you’ll want to have a glass of wine with dinner, consider bringing your own bottle of wine. Most restaurants will simply charge you a corkage fee. Usually, the cost of the bottle of wine at the grocery store plus the small corkage fee is much less than ordering a bottle of wine in the restaurant.

Happy hour deals are another great way to save on beer, wine and cocktails. Some restaurants only offer these deals in the bar area. If that’s the case, consider eating there. You will usually still get great service and a full menu to choose from, you’ll just get to take advantage of great deals!

Enjoy Favorites at Home

Instead of indulging in an appetizer before dinner or a delicious dessert afterwards, why not plan ahead and enjoy these things at home? You can have a light snack before heading out to hold you over until your dinner arrives. Instead of ordering a piece of cake after dinner or an expensive cocktail during, consider enjoying both of these at home. It will be a nice way to wind down and relax at the end of the night!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.